There are several treatment plans for patients with missing teeth, and it can be difficult to know which option will work best for you. A dental professional can provide you with personal guidance based a dental exam, but Dr. Kim Westermann, a dentist in Louisville, KY who works with Westermann Family Dentistry, offers more information here about three solutions for patients seeking tooth replacement: dental implants, dental bridges, and dentures.
What to expect with a dental implant
A dental implant is composed of three separate parts that require more than one appointment with a dentist to complete. Following an initial consultation and any necessary dental work, a titanium post will be implanted into the jawbone. The post will take 3 to 6 months to fuse with the bone. After this time, a crown will be attached to the post to complete the procedure. A dental implant requires surgery, but the results are long-lasting.
What to expect with a dental bridge
A dental bridge is a fixture that is anchored by other teeth and bonded into the mouth. Once a consultation and necessary dental work are completed, a dentist will prepare the anchoring teeth by removing part of the enamel and replacing them with a crown for added strength. The dentist will then take an impression of the patient’s teeth in order to create the bridge. Once the fixture is ready, the bridge will be secured and bonded in place after a final fitting. The bridge can then only be removed by a dental professional.
What to expect with dentures
Dentures are fixtures that can partially or fully replace teeth and are removable. An initial consultation and dental work are completed before a dentist will take an impression of a patient’s teeth and gums. This impression is used to create customized dentures based on a patient’s unique teeth. The patient returns to the dentist once the denture is ready for final alterations and fitting. The process is non-invasive for the patient, but denture parts may break or require replacement over time.
Benefits to tooth replacement
Dental implants, fixed bridges, and dentures are valuable treatments for patients with missing teeth. Implants offer a more permanent and durable solution, but the procedure can be expensive. Dental bridges are also permanent and potentially costly financially, and they can also affect surrounding teeth. Dentures can be more affordable but are more likely to need repair after a while.
Each treatment option has its distinct advantages, but the value of tooth replacement overall is evident. Benefits to all three plans include:
- Improvement of oral function, such as eating and speaking
- Enhanced smile appearance
- Reduction of bone loss in the jaw
More from Westermann Family Dentistry in Louisville
To learn more about dentures, dental implants, and more, contact Dr. Westermann with Westermann Family Dentistry in Louisville, KY either online or by phone at 502.219.3168.